AS THE bloated English Premier League stutters its way through yet another packed festive fixture programme, some of Europe’s top teams are heading for Marbella during their respective winter breaks.
The glitzy resort’s mild, sunny climate offers perfect keepy-up conditions while also allowing the pampered stars to indulge in a few rounds of golf or a spot of shopping in Puerto Banus’ high-end boutiques.
Among the biggest names this year is Inter Milan, who arrived on Monday January 2 and will leave on Saturday 7 in advance of the team’s league match against Udinese on Sunday 8.
On Tuesday the Italian giants played a three-way tournament involving Spanish Segunda Division ‘B’ teams Marbella FC and Balona, allowing the local players to take on such stars including Mauro Icardi, Antonio Candreva, Ever Banega and Ivan Perisic.
Borussia Dortmund are also in town from January 5-12 with their big guns Marco Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the latter supposedly a target for Real Madrid.
The gurning gegenpressers are to train at the municipal stadium, and take on Belgian outfit Standard Liege in a friendly on Thursday 12 at 6pm.
Other teams basing their winter training in or around Marbella include the German Bundesliga’s FSV Mainz 05, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and Augsburg, the Dutch Eredivisie’s Feyenoord and N.E.C., and the Belgian First Division A’s S.V. Zulte Waregem.
Russian teams Lokomotiv Moscow and Rubin Kazan will also make an appearance later in the month, as will Hebei China Fortune from the newly-moneyed Chinese Super League.